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Monthly Defense News Recap – April 2023

Ukraine Starts Acquiring Much-Needed Fighter Aircraft

On 17 April, Slovakia’s defence ministry announced that it transferred all 13 of its MiG-29 fighter aircraft to the Ukrainian Air Force. Slovakia delivered the first four aircraft in March, shortly after announcing that it was responding to Kyiv’s repeated requests for fighters over the past year.

Poland, which kicked off the process of transferring legacy aircraft to Ukraine, also announced that it has sent the first tranche of its aircraft. Like Slovakia, Poland also pledged all of its MiG-29s to Ukraine. Warsaw reportedly has many as 28 MiG-29s in service with its air force by the time of the commitment.

On one level, the legacy MiG-29s are a much-needed addition for Ukraine. On the surface, the aircraft can add to Kyiv’s fleet, which was under severe strain due to intense, ongoing combat operations over the past year. However, there are several caveats that dampen Kyiv’s enthusiasm for these aircraft.

First, it is unclear how many of these MiG-29s are serviceable enough to meet Ukraine’s requirements. In fact, like Ukraine’s own MiG-29s, these ex-Slovak and ex-Polish aircraft were built during the Cold War. This means that these units are over 30-40 years of age and, as importantly, operate from a limited supply base in terms of spare parts and other lines of maintenance and logistics support…

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Rolls-Royce to Offer Engine Tech for India’s AMCA Fighter

India is poised to take a significant step forward with its next-generation fighter aircraft (NGFA) program – i.e., the Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA).

First, India’s Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) is reviewing the Defence Research and Development Organization’s (DRDO)’s request for funds to start building the first AMCA prototype(s). The Aeronautical Development Authority (ADA) has frozen the AMCA’s design. Like many of its contemporaries, the AMCA is a twin-engine, medium-to-heavyweight fighter with a low-observable design and internal payload bay.

If greenlit, DRDO is expecting to roll out the first AMCA prototype by 2026. While the Tejas program is now catching critical momentum across its development, production, and operational pathways, DRDO is also under pressure from the Indian government. Basically, New Delhi wants DRDO to meet project deadlines and avoid cost-overruns, especially given the fact that India’s aerospace industry has greatly evolved since it initially carried out the Tejas, previously designated the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA)…

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UAE’s EDGE Group to Co-Develop Cruise Missiles With Brazil

The United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) EDGE Group and the Brazilian Navy have signed an agreement to jointly develop a new anti-ship missile (AShM) and a supersonic cruising missile. The two sides announced their agreement during the 2023 LAAD Defence and Security Exhibition, which took place last month.

EDGE Group has shown considerable progress in developing advanced munitions, such as precision-guided bombs (PGB) and AShMs. The conglomerate is also developing its own loyal wingman drone, thus showing its growing ambitions and capacity to take on more advanced projects…

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